When the schoolchildren wake up to the first rays of sunshine, the temperature is already over 30 degrees Celsius. They live in the Danakil desert in northeast Ethiopia, near an active volcano, in a region that is the world’s hottest on average.
Amongst these children are 6-year-old Looita and his sister Khadiga. Their route to school, which is many kilometres long, takes these children of the Afar tribe over jagged earth, over seemingly endless lengths, and every day they are confronted with much more than just the astounding heat.
Not one shadow offers coolness; water is a rare and expensive commodity. Even if a breath of wind blows through the desert, it most often quickly evolves into a sandstorm. The grains of which temporarily blind the children and whip at their skin. The very young schoolchildren deal with this until they finally reach their destination: school. But it isn’t over yet – there is still plenty of danger to come.
After school, they have to head home in unbelievable temperatures, beyond 50 degrees Celsius. Even the youngest schoolchildren have to help dig wells, while the older children – like 14-year-old Mohammed – work in the salt mines to aid their family’s survival.
The children, as well as the adults, do not give up hope that school will help them one day, not just to survive, but also to live well off the barren and inhospitable desert. You can catch a glimpse into the lives of these children in this gripping documentary. The story of their resilience and perseverance through the toughest of living conditions is both heart-wrenching and inspiring.
Don’t miss this documentary on the lives of the school children of Danakil Desert.